WWII concentration camp could be next luxury island resort

Cape Town - On the border between Montenegro and Croatia, a historical World War II concentration camp on the tiny island of Mamula could be transformed into a luxury beach resort. 

The island is home to a 19th-century fortress, where Italian WWII troops occupied the concentration camp under dictator Benito Mussolini. 

The concentration camp held up to 2 300 people, "of whom 130 were killed or starved to death" reports CNN

READ: 9 New Global attractions opening in 2016 - new Louvre and biblical ark

There has even been a film adaption to the events on the island, Mamula Island. 

For many, the idea of a concentration camp being turned into a beach resort is unthinkable, with thousands disputing the possible plans, claiming the dark past of the island cannot be dismissed. 

Montenegrin government has "green-lit" the proposal to transform the island into a resort equipped with swimming pools, yacht marinas, spas and restaurants. 

The government has since given the Swiss-Egyptian developer, Orascom, a 49-year lease at $1.64 per square metre. 

READ: NatGeo Top 20 Destinations for 2016

Orascom proposes to invest $16.3 million (about R27m at R16.70/$)  in the resort. 

"We were facing two options: to leave the site to fall into ruin or find investors who would be willing to restore it and make it accessible to visitors," Olivera Brajovic, head of Montenegro's national directorate for tourism development, told AFP.

What travellers could expect

The designers behind the concept, Salt & Water explained that their concept aims to preserve the iconic Montenegro landmark. But, angry family members of the camp's prisoners believe the plan to build a resort where so many suffered is "a blatant example of lack of seriousness towards history," Olivera Doklestic, who's grandfather was held on the island, told AFP.

READ: 20 of SA's thrilling adrenaline adventures to try in 2016

Montenegrin government has since commented on the dispute, saying the resort will boost the local economy and a "memorial room or a museum" will be included. 

Disputes over Mamula began in December 2013 when government advertised the land as an investment opportunity to satisfy the needs of the wealthy, reports CNN. 

Traveller24 reported that South Africa's very own Robben Island plans to offer over night stays in the near future - the world Heritage Sight where Nobel Laureate and former South African president Nelson Mandela for 18 years. 

READ: Robben Island soon to offer overnight stays

Would you be interested in having a holiday here? Share your travel experiences with us. You can email us at info@traveller24.co.za or connect with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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